Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.
- Member for
- 5 years 6 months
ST. PAUL -- Paint will cost more and be recycled. Bees will be protected. Financially troubled farmers will be able to access state aid. And an island to provide more wildlife habitat could be built in the Mississippi River. Those are a few of the impacts from a diverse environment, natural resources and agriculture funding bill headed for Gov. Mark Dayton's expected approval. The overall bill spends $312 million on programs such as in the Agriculture Department, Pollution Control Agency and Department of Natural Resources.
ST. PAUL -- The keystone of Minnesota Democrats' budget plans, $2 billion in tax increases, was headed for final legislative passage while late Sunday a public works bill remained in doubt as time runs out in the 2013 legislative session. The tax increases are for plugging a $627 million state budget deficit and giving more money to Democratic priorities such as education. The tax provisions include raising income taxes on Minnesota couples with $250,000 or more taxable income and individuals making at least $150,000.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota legislators have taken baby steps in passing a $38 billion, two-year budget that must be finished by midnight Monday. The biggest step so far was set to come late Friday or early today as the House edged toward approving money for state-subsidized health programs, the second-largest part of the state budget. "I think we have time to get the budget bills done," House Majority Leader Erin Murphy, DFL-St.
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota House defeated a public works funding bill this afternoon, but even with a Monday adjournment deadline looming it still could come back up. Bill author Rep. Alice Hausman, DFL-St. Paul, said today's vote would be the only chance representatives would have to pass her $800 million bill, to be funded by the state selling bonds.
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota House, Senate and governor's office agreed to a tax plan Thursday night, four months after the Legislature started and four days before lawmakers must wrap up work for the year. The tax plan is a merger of what the Democratic-controlled House and Senate and Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton wanted.
ST. PAUL -- Rural and urban Minnesota senators battled Wednesday night about how to divide outdoors and arts program funding. Rural senators won, but just barely. Sen. Scott Newman, R-Hutchinson, said rural Minnesota is "under assault once again" with an amendment by Sen.
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota House is to consider helping southwestern Minnesota obtain federal funds to recover from an April ice storm. The House Ways and Means Committee Tuesday night approved on a voice vote spending $1.5 million, which would leverage federal funds to help pay for $6 million in public costs. Rep. Joe Schomacker, R-Luverne, told the committee that total private and public damage from the storm was $26 million. He said much of the public damage was caused by power lines and trees falling onto roads. The storm occurred April 9 to 11.
The law Minnesota law has restricted marriage to between men and women, but a bill the governor signed Tuesday evening allows "civil marriages" between any two people other than close family members. The law says that clergy and religion-related organizations are not required to participate in a gay marriage.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota's gay community never has known such joy. That joy showed Tuesday night as American and rainbow flags flew in front of the state Capitol when Minnesota became the 12th state to embrace same-sex marriage. Minnesota gays and their supporters could not contain their enthusiasm during a 45-minute ceremony featuring Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Love and marriage soon will go together for Minnesota gays like they do for straight couples. "Vote yes for love," Minnesota Sen. Scott Dibble told his colleagues Monday. Enough senators agreed and gave the Minneapolis Democrat his wish of a Minnesota that allows same-sex couples to marry, the 12th state to allow it. "Today we have the power, the awesome humbling power, to make dreams come true." Dibble said as a four-hour, three-minute debate wound down. Senators voted 37-30 to remove a state law that bans same-sex marriage.